Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Anxiety Didn't Win!

Yesterday was a good day.  I knew I had Flower Girl's third birthday party to attend at three and by nine am I was already trying to talk myself out of going.  Making myself sick and sleepy with anxiety about how uncomfortable I'll feel around all those people.  I got up and got out of bed and did my laundry, which was difficult having been so sick for so long.  Still on antibiotics for three more days and I'm only starting to feel like me again.  I almost fell asleep after, but kept myself awake so I wouldn't get more anxiety.  I watched a couple of movies on HBO that I hadn't seen before, both were OK, not great, but sufficient to get myself out of my head.  And by the time the second one was over it was time to get ready and catch my train.

Surprisingly I was the second to arrive.  I'm usually first because I'll leave before my anxiety has a hold on me, keeping me in bed.  But I was happy to be only a few minutes early.  Green room time was never hard for me, I'm usually at least fifteen minutes early to everything.  Some rehearsals I'd arrive at the same time as the Director.  Early. 

Also to my surprise, everyone was really glad that I had come.  My anxiety had told me I was invited just because I am an employee and that Flower Girl and Beatle Boy would have been disappointed if I wasn't there, not because I was really wanted there.  But as usual my anxiety was wrong.  And the relatives that know me the best were genuinely happy to see me as I was them.  My shyness at the large crowd (round 25) kept me talking to one person at a time, but I like that best anyway.  I was able to make it through all the food, so much food, and the cake.  But chose to leave before presents were being opened as it was getting close to six pm and I had a forty minute train ride ahead of me.  My anxiety won that round and they sent me home with a plate of food.  Such caring people.  I'm truly blessed to work for a family that treats me like family, not the servant that my anxiety tries to convince me is true.

I'd name my anxiety the way Carrie Fisher named her bi-polar personalities, but I think that might give it more power over me, and I can't have that.  So all in all it was a good day yesterday.  And I feel refreshed that I beat my anxiety.  However, today, like a true ambivert, I need to be around less people.  Chatting will work, but I need a day to decompress before the week starts again and I'm thrown into people.  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Be Afraid The Flu Is EVERYWHERE

I feel like I just survived the tube neck flu from The Stand.  Since Wednesday evening I've been the sickest I've ever been with the flu, in my life.  And today, Sunday, is the first day I've actually felt like doing the dishes and cooking for myself.  Although I had to try and cook for myself by Saturday as I fainted that morning from lack of protein.  Twice. 

It's hard to take good care of yourself when you have a 102.9 fever.  That was what it peaked at on Friday morning before it finally broke.  I was on 48 hours of lying in bed with said fever, freezing then burning up, and the muscle aches.  OMG.  Like all my nerve endings were on fire, just tingled every time I tried to move or just tried to breathe.  And breathing wasn't all that easy with all the mucus.  How can sinus cavity hold so much?!  My cough I kept loose with asthma meds and my inhaler and homemade remedies which were not easy to make with a fever, but I did.  Onions, garlic minced up with a shit ton of sugar to create a syrup.  Pineapple juice was a constant companion those first 24 hours as was any juice and water that I could get my hands on.  I was lucky enough to hydrate in those first two days.   I think Thursday, I remember eating a jar of peanuts, thinking the protein will be good.  And Friday some kind of frozen meal I happened to have.  But I honestly didn't have the strength or will or appetite to eat anything.  I lost 10 pounds in three days.

So by Friday late morning when the fever broke, I was weak and dizzy as I headed to the bathroom for stage two of whatever bug I have.  I passed out while sitting there and for a moment thought I fell back asleep or had a reaction to the cough meds my doctor gave me from before.  I stumbled back to bed and feel back asleep.  But the scary part was Saturday morning.

As I woke up and decided I should refill the water pitcher before I spend most of Saturday in the bathroom, I fainted again.  And it wasn't like last night, where I felt kind of dizzy sitting there, and could see the blackness approaching.  I was standing there using a glass to fill my pitcher since the sink was full of dishes.  (I have a tiny sink and kitchen so it gets full after one meal, and these were left over from Wednesday, when I had planned to do them, but my fever had other plans).  Anyway, I was just standing there one minute, and the next minute I opened my eyes and I was lying on the kitchen floor wondering what that running water sound was and why I had decided to take a nap.  I also my large cooking knife that I had used to mince up the onions and garlic on Thursday, was laying across my calf.  Funny.  I didn't remember picking it up before I fainted.  And the glass I had been holding while filling the pitcher was in the sink where the knife was and water splashed around.  Almost like, you guessed it.  The glass fell from my hand and hit the knife making it spring out of the sink and fall to the floor with me as I fainted, landing like a feather against my calf instead of a spear.  I was so lucky it hadn't skewered me. 

I immediately forced myself to make chicken noodle soup for breakfast and eat it.  And I made lunch of fish and chips and ate them too.  I hope I can stop spending so much time in the bathroom today.  My annual physical appointment is tomorrow and I hope there is nothing else but the flu wrong with me, but I'll be sure and retell this story with many more gross details to the doctor tomorrow.  They need those details.  You don't. 


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Breathe And Don't Be Scared, It's Just Life

Why are we all so afraid?  And not just with the political atmosphere, but with life in general?  Is it just 'us' that are afraid, or are 'they' afraid too?  I used to feel fearless compared to the worries I have today.  Of course that was when I was a child and didn't know the ways of the world.  Now I wonder how I had the courage to even have children much less raise them alone in a world like this.  When a young couple tell me "I don't know if I can bring a child into a world filled with so much hate."  I now nod in understanding where thirty years ago I would have scoffed.  It's funny how age and maturity change your views on life.  I'm sure it's why most young people aren't as cynical as the older generations tend to be. 

It's not that we want to be cynical or laugh at your great epiphany, it's just that we've seen that all before.  With life, you get a lot of chance to make the same mistake.  In fact some believe that's all life is.  Your soul has an assignment.  To learn how it feels to be human.  In all it's possibilities.   And depending on your lot in life, you get the chance to change and grow.  To see if you have learned the great lesson of your life, you will be given similar opportunities, choices.  And if you  make the wrong choice you will eventually find yourself in the same situation again.  It's why you see some people saying, "Why does this always happen to me?"  Well, it might be because you aren't making the right choice.  So, lucky you, you are getting another chance.

My twenties had a theme like this.  And when I finally made the right choice in my mid thirties, I got a whole new set of life hurdles.  It took me until my early fifties to make the right choice and grow again.  Now I await, with somewhat bated breath, to see what life choices I get now.  And being in a good place now, I hope it's not too life changing.  Although I believe when we stop being challenged by life is when we are close to death, so bring on the challenges. 

For the first time in over a year, I'm in a very good place and I want it to continue.  So I am going to keep doing what I'm doing and hope I've made the right choice for me.  You see, I've stopped living for others, and now am living for me.  Being selfish, you might say.  Which is something I've always thought was wrong,  But maybe Mr. Selfish had a good point about self love and self preservation.  I'm a nurturer by nature, but sometimes you have to put that away and allow people to find their own way, and watch.  And listen.  And learn. 

It's less scary that way.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Musings Of A Granddaughter of A KKK Member

I think I'm starting to get numb to all the political news coming at me from all directions.  Of course I know this is a pivotal place to be when you are trying to resist, so I take a break from it all.  And try to regroup and remember a time when I didn't feel like so many lives were in danger.

I don't make enough to donate money, and frankly I work so many hours in a week that I don't have much free time either.  But I try to engage people of different minds into what I hope to be intelligent debate.  I have tried so many ways.  And I always get hit with anger and defensiveness.  I know from my broken heart conversations that these emotions usually mean I've hit a nerve.  So I brave on, with what I hope to be non name calling questions and facts.  Thing is, I can't call him by his name.  So I make fun of it.  Like they do and did to my President and my candidate.  But when I do that, they say I'm immature because I'm name calling.  And yet I haven't called them a snowflake or a libitard or many of the more threatening things I've heard.  Which to my mind is name calling as well.  Perhaps they don't see it or think it's deserved.  And perhaps they are right.  So I've even tried just using pronouns and they still call me names.  In my heart of hearts I want to believe that most people are good.  But I'm starting to doubt that. 

Too many days I see his voting demographic being just downright mean.  And It's almost always on line.  Only once have I had an altercation with a middle aged, white male, that I felt if I didn't back down first I might be in danger.  So, of course I did.  A lifetime of looking down and not making eye contact, and being submissive,  has made this easy for me.  Almost automatic.  But then there is that tiny voice inside me that screams to be heard.  That voice that makes me want to stand up for my rights, and protect those I see who don't have the white privilege that I have.  Poor white people just don't get it.  They feel downtrodden and forgotten.  But even they have more built in rights than most people of color, just because of their skin tone.  It's like a badly written sci-fi novel of the future gone mad.  Except it's real and it's always been here.

I saw a video the other day that discussed if bigotry wasn't just another form of PTSD or mental illness.  And it struck a cord within me.  The symptoms they feel are similar, but it never occurred to me before to make a racist (and we're all a little bit racist) human.  It never occurred to me that if I could get them to talk about their fears, that maybe they wouldn't be so prejudiced anymore.  And I was successful at helping my own mother get rid of a lifetime of brainwashing from her parents.  She went from hating all people of any color other than white, to accepting the fact that it was ok to have people of color as friends in your life.  I know, I know, that doesn't sound like success, but for the daughter of a man who was head of the KKK in his small town in Nebraska, it was huge.  She tried to raise me the way she had been raised.  With all her fears and in some areas she succeeded.  I'm still afraid of vast open waters, like the middle of the ocean; and big dogs.  But not people with different melanoma.  She never allowed me to have any friends of color and when she found out I had one, she would not allow me to play with them again.  And the one time she found one in her home, she embarrassed me by kicking him out.   I was 17 at the time and it was a huge wake up call to me to what I had to do. 

I wish I could take more credit for her transformation.  But I can't remember doing anything more than standing my ground and staying true to my vision of the world that all men, and women are created equal.  Perhaps it was my example that made her realize that her lifetime of fears were just that.  Fear.  That she really had nothing to be afraid of from ALL of any race.  Or ALL of any religion.  Or ALL of any group of people.  Sure there are always going to be a bad apple here and there.  But if we are going to get through to them, we can't be like them.  We can't fight and argue with belittling names or tone.  In fact we have to treat it like any illness.  You wouldn't attack a family member or friend with an illness about that illness would you?  So we can't do that in any debate or discussion with a bigot either. 

I know my friends of color will read this and say, 'So what else is new?  We've had generations of this and we're still repressed.'  I know, and I wish this thought coming from a white, middle aged, female wasn't a revelation to white people.  But I think for some, maybe most, it is.  I think for the good ones out there, we really wanted to believe that things in this country were getting better after MLK and Milk.  (Martin Luther King, Jr and Harvey Milk if you are like my mom and don't know who I'm talking about).  But we were blind.  We got comfortable and forgot to keep resisting with our brothers and sisters until the ideas of change became real change.  And now a generation of hate and fear has taken control of our government.  And I feel afraid for my rights for the first time.  I don't just empathize with my friends of color, I feel some of the same fears as they have had to live with for generations.  And my fears aren't as paramount as theirs.  Because I'm white.  Most white people just don't get that. 

I'm glad my mom didn't live to see this day.  But I wonder if she would have stood up with me and marched or if him being in the white house might have made her feel like she now had a reason to hate and be heard and counted among the those like her dad.  I know what I hope she would have done.  And I guess I'm glad I don't have to see it. . .in case.

All I know for sure is my grandfather would not have liked me or been proud of me, and that feeling is mutual.